Resource Center

Stories

 

 

 

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories — both print and broadcast.

These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center.

 

 

 



Search results for "criminals" ...

  • Cross-Border Killings

    In October 2012, a U.S. Border Patrol agent fired through the 20-foot steel fence separating Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Mexico, killing an unarmed 16-year-old Mexican boy with 10 bullets through his body. The agents said he was throwing rocks. This was not an isolated incident by a rogue agent, but just the latest in a string of cross-border shootings that raise questions about oversight and accountability of the U.S. Border Patrol. In the last three years, Border Patrol agents have killed 6 Mexican citizens on their native soil, firing through the border to threaten and injure even more. One man was shot while picnicking with his family on the banks of the Rio Grande. Another 15-year-old boy was hit between the eyes with a bullet for allegedly throwing rocks. None of these cases has led to any known disciplinary action or criminal charges against the border police, and U.S. courts have rejected claims made by victims’ families, asserting that Mexican citizens do not have the same constitutional protections as U.S. citizens. Fault Lines travels to the border town of Nogales – presently the nexus for this increasingly lawless law enforcement – to meet the families who have lost their sons at the hands of U.S. agents with no follow up or acknowledgement from U.S. officials.

    Tags: border patrol

    By Mathieu Skene; Singeli Agnew; Carrie Lozano; Wab Kinew; Lincoln Else; Murphy Joseph Woodhouse; Judith Torrea; Andrea Schmidt; John Kane; Keith Wilson; Yousur Alhou; Paul Abowd; Mark Scialla; Omar Damascene; Jonathan Klett

    Al Jazeera America

    2013

  • Ruthless Kidnapping Rings Reach from Desert Sands to U.S. Cities

    The story deals with the ever-evolving crime of human smuggling, and how opportunistic criminal gangs exploit gaps in law enforcement to open new channels for profit. In this case it was how Bedouin gangs along the Egypt-Israel border in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula took advantage of the Arab Spring, the fall of the Mubarak regime, and the increasingly lawless state of the region to create a perfect smuggling scenario linking African refugees in Israel to Palestinian bag men (who collect the ransom) to diaspora Africans in Europe and North America who raise thousands of dollars to rescue their captives. The story documents the $80,000 payment made by one immigrant father from Eritrea—now living near San Jose, California—to secure the release of his teen-age daughter and his own brother. We showed how this was part of a growing international network that has funneled millions of dollars in each of the last 3 years to the criminals operating these enterprises.

    Tags: kidnapping; gangs; organized crime

    By Joel Millman

    Wall Street Journal (New York)

    2013

  • Gaming the Capital: Profiting From Washington’s Secrets

    Investors are getting rich by exploiting the poorly guarded corridors of power in Washington. They are extracting insider tips about companies, winning sneak peeks at market data and tapping privileged insiders such as lobbyists to make huge trading profits at the expense of average investors. In a powerful series of investigations, The Wall Street Journal in 2013 exposed how investors have wormed their way into the political and regulatory system. A reporting team picked from among its best staffers in Washington and New York examined secret trading records, thousands of pages of disclosure forms and gigabytes of complex financial data. Their reporting showed how the nation’s capital is awash in insider information. It exposed potential criminality. It upended long-standing practices in both cities. And it showed how insiders relentlessly exploit their connections.

    Tags: washington; insider; investors; market data; trading; lobbyists;

    By Brody Mullins

    Wall Street Journal (New York)

    2013

  • Backfire

    The investigation revealed that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) employed rogue tactics in undercover storefront strings in Milwaukee and across the country, including using those with mental disabilities to promote the operations – and then turning around and charging them with gun and drug crimes. The investigation found ATF agents set up operations near schools and churches, allowing them to arrest people on more serious charges; let felons armed with guns leave the fake storefronts; paid such high prices that people bought guns from stores and then quickly sold them to agents; bought stolen goods, spurring burglaries in the area; arrested and charged the wrong people; and drew in juveniles by allowing them to play video games, smoke marijuana and drink alcohol; failed to employ sufficient security, allowing sting storefronts to be burglarized; carelessly handled sensitive documents containing undercover officer’s names and vehicle information; and left behind damaged rental properties, failing to pay landlords for repairs. In Milwaukee, an ATF agent’s guns were stolen, including an automatic machine gun, which has not been recovered. The sting operations were part of an ATF initiative meant to go after “the worst of the worst” and target areas beset by violent crime. But in the Milwaukee operation and elsewhere, the defendants largely had nonviolent criminal backgrounds. Even a federal prosecutor criticized the ATF for the kinds of people targeted.

    Tags: ATF; guns

    By John Diedrich; Raquel Rutledge

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    2013

  • The Gifted Life of a Governor

    Over months of in-depth investigative reporting, Washington Post reporters discovered Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell--a respected state leader and rising star in his party--held a secret: He and his family had accepted lavish gifts and large loans from the chief executive of a struggling dietary supplement manufacturer, even while working to promote the company. The gifts included luxury items such as designer clothes, a Cape Cod vacation, a Rolex watch and a catered wedding. The money totaled $120,000 in loans over about a year in 2011 and 2012, none repaid before the Washington Post started asking questions. After dozens of articles, the governor apologized for his actions and repaid the money. State and federal authorities opened criminal probes and leaders in both parties have promised to rewrite state ethics laws, long considered some of the most lax in the nation.

    Tags: ethics; government; bribes; gifts

    By Rosalind S. Helderman; Carol D. Leonnig; Laura Vozzella

    The Washington Post

    2013

  • Colorado's Failing Parole System

    A father of three, gunned down for his pizza delivery uniform. That uniform is then used in the murder of Colorado’s Prisons Chief, shot and killed when he answered his front door. The man who carried out the killings: a career criminal on parole. A series of Call7 Breaking News Investigations uncovers the catastrophic failure of Colorado’s parole division. Failures that allowed a parolee identified as high risk and assigned a specially trained officer, to commit murder- twice. A parolee absconder who Call7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta uncovered committed both murders while “off the grid” as parole officers at all levels ignored critical alerts he was on the run for nearly a week. Marchetta holds officials accountable for the fatal oversights that took place. Her investigations led to immediate and long-term meaningful changes at the Colorado Department of Corrections, including a new policy requiring officers to respond to ankle bracelet tamper alerts, new equipment for parole officers, legislative hearings and a change in leadership at the parole division.

    Tags: parole; crime

    By Theresa Marchetta; Jennifer Castor; Carl Bilek

    KMGH-TV (Denver)

    2013

  • Two Gunshots

    From the moment the police found Michelle O’Connell, a young, single mother, dying from a gunshot to the head, there were troubling questions about what happened inside the house in St. Augustine, Florida. The fatal shot came from the service weapon of her boyfriend, a local sheriff’s deputy. O’Connell had just broken up with him and was packing to move out of his house. And barely an hour before she died, O’Connell had texted her sister to say she would soon be there to pick up her four-year-old daughter. Yet, none of this troubled detectives from the St. John’s County Sheriff’s – all fellow officers of O’Connell’s boyfriend. Within hours, they concluded that O’Connell had committed suicide. Those critical questions remained unanswered for nearly two years, until Walt Bogdanich, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, began examining the death of Michelle O’Connell – a case that had deeply divided law enforcement agencies in Florida and raised broader issues of how the police investigate one of their own, particularly in instances of domestic violence. Bogdanich found that the criminal justice system had failed almost from the moment the fatal shot was fired. Evidence wasn’t collected. Neighbors weren’t canvassed. Important interviews were not conducted. Medical examiners concocted absurd theories to support the suicide conclusion and prosecutors blindly endorsed them. The Times’s investigation, conducted in conjunction with the PBS investigative program Frontline, was part of a broader examination of how the police deal with the corrosive and persistent problem of domestic violence in their ranks.

    Tags: murder; crime; domestic violence;

    By Walt Bogdanich; Glenn Silber; Sarah Cohen; Sarah Childress; Rebecca Ruiz; Josh Keller; Xaquin G.V.; Graham Roberts; Mika Grondahl

    The New York Times

    2013

  • 'Crooked Care' - Investigation into Narconon of Georgia

    Our year-long investigation culminated with the closure of a drug rehabilitation facility accused of deceiving patients, court officials and state regulators in order to enhance profits funneled to its benefactor, the Church of Scientology. Georgia's Insurance Commissioner and a local district attorney launched an ongoing criminal investigation after reviewing our findings that Narconon of Georgia lied about its license, billed insurance companies for treatment never received (that families had already paid for), and opened credit cards in the names of clients without their permission. For a decade, state regulators tasked with oversight of drug rehabilitation facilities had ignored complaints from vulnerable drug addicts and their families, repeatedly reversing fines and citations. The state ultimately revoked Narconon of Georgia's license as a direct result of our reporting. This investigation was a collaborative effort between WSB-TV, WSB-Radio and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A reporter from each institution shared the research and reporting responsibilities. The stories were featured on all three platforms simultaneously. In addition, each entity spotlighted the story digitally with extensive online coverage, due to the worldwide interest the story gleaned.

    Tags: drug rehab; patients; drug addicts

    By Jodie Fleischer; Josh Wade; LeVar James; Dave Darling; Pete Combs; Christian Boone

    WSB Radio (Atlanta)

    2013

  • Watching Tony Die

    Wendy Halloran's journalistic skills have been focused in uncovering the secrets that often lurk behind the closed doors of our state institutions. Wendy began reporting about conditions in the Arizona Department of Corrections and became the vehicle through which the public would learn the story of Tony Lester. Tony, 26 years of age and suffering with schizophrenia tragically took his own life as he lingered in his prison cell, without proper medications and treatment, to ease the suffering he endured due to his debilitating illness. Wendy's ground breaking work in penetrating the great wall of silence within our state prison system was truly amazing. Wendy was able to obtain videos of Tony's last few moments of life through her fearless, "don't stop until the job is done attitude" The picture we see revealed in his final hours will create the guide for reform of Arizona's prison policy and procedures in treatment of those with mental disabilities for years to come. Tony Lester was a young man with a mental disability whose life unfortunately crossed with Arizona's criminal justice system. Tony's illness became a death sentence for him as all of our mental health system safety nets failed him. From the moment of Tony's first major psychotic break, when law enforcement was summoned rather than a Crisis Response Team, Tony's chances of survival grew dim. Arizona's courts do not place much importance on the state of mind a defendant has at the time a crime occurs but rather spend millions to be sure a defendant is competent at the time of trial. At trial we then prosecute to the fullest extent allowed by law, as we did in Tony's case and hand him a 12 year prison sentence, for his illness which was at the root of his desire to end his suffering. Some call it the definition of insanity, we do the same thing over and over again and each time expect a different result. Her work in bringing the story of Tony Lester's illness and treatment within the Arizona criminal justice system into the public view, has opened the eyes of the public as to what we can expect, when we allow a mental health system to fail and our prisons to become the largest psychiatric facilities in our state. Since Wendy Halloran's news story on Tony Lester has circulated, Arizona has seemed to have heard the sounding of the alarm, that our mentally disabled must have proper care. Meaningless punishment for a disease of the brain such as schizophrenia does nothing to heal the mind of the afflicted or keep our communities safe. The Tony Lester story has captured the attention of the Maricopa County Attorney and the Arizona Department of Corrections. Both of these important criminal justice players are currently involved in dialogue with The Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition. This has encouraged and promoted an open public discourse on mental health/criminal justice collaboration and reform.

    Tags: department of corrections; mentally disabled; criminal justice

    By Wendy Halloran

    KPNX-TV (Phoenix)

    2013

  • Driven to the Edge

    Over the course of nine months, The Globe's investigative unit, the Spotlight Team, was able to penetrate the city's closely held and routinely ignored $1 billion taxi industry, developing sources throughout the industry to uncover a incompetently policed system rife with corruption. One team member, in a step fully disclosed to the Boston Police Department which is charged with overseeing city cabbies, received his hackney license and drove multiple shifts. He saw first-hand a world of serial indignities. The result was a stunning portrait of payoffs and rip-offs, unequal enforcement, and dangerous behavior. It led to a sweeping city-sponsored review, and a raid on the city's largest fleet owners by armed IRS agents who carted away boxes of data. A criminal investigation remains active.

    Tags: taxi;

    By Marcella Bombardieri; Jonathan Saltzman; Bob Hohler; Matt Carroll

    Boston Globe

    2013